Instructional design models can make planning for teaching seem a bit like assembling a piece of furniture from IKEA – tedious and challenging. Many of the models we’ve come across distill the planning approach to a set of rigid tasks and procedures. In many models it’s hard to see any evidence of what many call the “art” in teaching. It can also be difficult to see any evidence of considering the needs and motivations of the learners as well.
Choosing tools and approaches to integrate technology in teaching can be challenging as well. It can be difficult to consider how the technology might add value to the lesson – particularly from the student’s perspective. One way to think about this is in terms of motivation. In what ways can the use of technology encourage students to engage more fully in their learning?
The ARCS model takes an approach to instructional design that can help faculty with both of these challenges. As faculty think through the different steps of the model, they focus on students’ motivation for learning. Motivation is enhanced and sustained by addressing the four aspects of ARCS: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction. Careful attention to these aspects helps instructors design instruction that motivates students to engage with the content in meaningful ways. In this post, we explore the model as well as ways that technology can enhance and/or support each of these elements in practice.
Overview of the ARCS model
- Attention: arousing perception and/or a sense of inquiry.
-This aspect of ARCS is often addressed first as teachers seek to grab learners’ attention and pique curiosity. Examples include novelty or humor in the form of a story or real-life application of the topic. Other options include using multiple forms of content representation and active learner participation early in the lesson.
- Relevance: establishing the importance or usefulness of the content knowledge or skill.
-A clear sense of value for newly formed knowledge and a clear connection to prior knowledge is an essential aspect for motivating learners to engage in new or potentially difficult tasks. For example, an illustration of how the new knowledge will serve the learner in the future will reinforce worth. Other strategies include modeling relevant skills and providing students choice in their learning.
- Confidence: providing an established path to success with teacher feedback and learner input along the way.
-Learners benefit from incremental success as they work towards a clearly defined goal. Well-stated learning objectives and achievement goals shape the likelihood of success and help learners stay motivated. Success that is scaffolded and earned through practice motivates students as they enjoy some control of their learning.
- Satisfaction: attaining a meaningful sense of achievement.
-Opportunities for using new knowledge, receiving constructive feedback, and rewarding rigor and achievement are all strategies for enhancing motivation through satisfaction. As learners find satisfaction in their learning experiences, they will more fully appreciate their efforts going forward.
Leveraging technology to support ARCS
The ARCS model can provide a helpful frame within which to consider how technologies can contribute to student learning. Below we offer a sampling of technology tools and resources that can support each component of the ARCS model.
Attention – Many different uses of technology can help to capture and maintain students’ attention. For example, targeted video clips, which can be created by the professor, can present content in a rich way that often complements course readings or presentations. Similarly, digital simulations, animations or demonstrations provide multiple means of representing the content that can support the needs of diverse learners in the classroom.
Relevance – Authenticity and relevance of learning can be enhanced through the use of technology. Engaging students in problem-based learning and inquiry using real data and sources available online promotes deeper learning. Similarly, when students are able to create products of the learning and share them with a wide and authentic audience, as in this example of student-created TED talks, they work harder, complete more revisions and have a greater sense of ownership in their learning.
Confidence – When students can learn about and practice important skills and processes from their courses using technology, they develop their confidence. Video-based tutorials and short courses can help break down complex tasks and procedures and allow students to review them as much as needed. When students can practice procedures using online tools and supports, they can practice in a “safe” environment prior to class. By learning and practicing in an online environment, students can develop increased confidence in their own learning and capacity.
Satisfaction – Students gain a sense of reward and positive feedback through digital tools that facilitate discourse, community, and real-world applications. Learning management systems such as Edmodo have built-in rewards that provide positive feedback through badges. Also, teachers can provide specific written praise by posting comments on a student’s wall or sending a file with written feedback. Other examples include built-in assessments or self-checks in video module builders such as NearPod or Microsoft Mix. These strategies provide more immediate satisfaction by equipping the learner with immediate feedback and opportunities to apply their knowledge.
How do you try to encourage motivation for learning through the use of technology in your planning?
Please post your comments below.